By Kristi Myllenbeck, Cupertino Courier – May 6, 2016
Supporters of a ballot initiative that would solidify plans for the $3 billion redevelopment of Vallco Shopping Mall have turned in 3,675 signatures–1,200 more than required.
If at least 2,475 of the signatures submitted May 4 are validated by the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, the Vallco Town Center Initiative will qualify for Cupertino’s November election ballot.
And if approved, the initiative would allow Sand Hill Property Co. to redevelop the mostly vacant Vallco Shopping Mall into a town center that would be called The Hills at Vallco.
In August, Sand Hill unveiled plans to build 625,000 square feet of commercial and retail space there, as well as 800 residential units and 2 million square feet of office space. A 30-acre green roof with trails would cover a large portion of the property.
That plan, along with a slew of community benefits for local schools and city transit, are included in the initiative.
In a press release distributed by Sand Hill, initiative proponent Judy Wilson said, “By submitting these signatures, our community is saying loud and clear that they want to vote on the proposal that will create a revitalized Vallco and vibrant future for our city.”
Wilson added: “We look forward to a comprehensive and fact-based dialogue in the coming months that will give Cupertino residents the information they need to make a thoughtful decision on Vallco’s future.”
It’s been a year of ballot initiatives in the city.
In February, the Cupertino Citizens’ Sensible Growth Initiative successfully qualified for the November ballot. Among other aims, it could hamper the Vallco project by giving voters the final say on whether the site can be used for anything other than retail.
The “sensible growth” measure triggered three pro-development initiative drives, including the pro-Vallco one.
Owners of the Oaks Shopping Center launched one to redevelop their property and last month proponents of a hotel project on De Anza Boulevard kicked off the North De Anza Gateway Initiative. Both are in the signature gathering stage.
In addition to submitting petition signatures, Sand Hill publicly released its environmental assessment of the Hills project, which it began last fall but paused when the sensible growth initiative qualified for the ballot.
The assessment was done by environmental firm Kimley-Horn, and includes analyses of the project’s Specific Plan and four volumes of technical reports, according to Sand Hill.
“We feel it is important to be transparent and provide voters with a full environmental assessment of the Town Center Initiative so they have confidence to know the revitalization will mitigate potential impacts,” Reed Moulds, managing director at Sand Hill, said in a press statement.
The environmental assessment documents can be downloaded and reviewed at revitalizevallco.com and by clicking on the menu button in the upper right hand corner.